Who knows what made Josh Berry the way he is. “He just likes helping people in need,” says mum Jane. “We were walking through the city one afternoon when he was nine years old and he was startled by the amount of homeless people living on the streets. He didn’t know how to react, whether to give them money, pretend they weren’t there. He was quite upset. When we got home he went online to find that there were 23,000 homeless people in Victoria at the time. He did a bit of research on what the majority of homeless people wanted most and that was to be safe and warm. He also found out that many of them are given coats but had freezing feet. That’s how he came up with the idea of sock donation.”
Josh Berry looks like any other regular 13-year-old Mount Eliza kid. He’s a member of the Mount Eliza Junior Fire Brigade and has just joined the Australian Air Force cadets. He’s also home-schooled. But there’s certainly something different about this youngster that sets him apart from the regular lad about town. He likes helping those who are less fortunate than he is, and once he sets a target he doesn’t stop.
Jane continues: “When he decided to start collecting socks he thought you can’t just give someone one pair of socks because what would they do while they were washing them? His aim was to give every homeless person in Victoria two pairs of new warm socks, but I said: ‘Let’s just start off with a target of 100 and see what happens.’ He’s up to 23,590 socks now — all this from making up a flyer on the computer and dropping it into local letterboxes. He wasn’t allowed to put them in letterboxes marked ‘no junk mail’ though!”
Josh began handing out socks to those in need when he and his family helped serve food to the homeless in Frankston, St Kilda and Dandenong, but he had a couple of experiences where he felt a little unsafe, so now the socks are distributed through organisations that supply homeless people with clothing and essentials. The Mount Eliza community has been incredibly supportive, and he’s even had socks donated from interstate and Germany.
“We are very proud of Josh. He used to help out with the Reading Out Of Poverty program and does sail-ability at Lake Lysterfield on Friday mornings with disabled people. He was also nominated for the Victorian Young Achievers Award last year for 2 Pairs Each.”
Who knows what’s next for this compassionate young man, but in the meantime if you’d like to buy some socks and donate them to this very worthy cause, log on to 2pairseach.com.au to see how.